Hanako, Princess Hitachi

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Princess Hitachi
Princess Hitachi 2012-1-2.jpg
At the new year congratulatory imperial palace visit. 2 January 2012
Spouse Masahito, Prince Hitachi
Full name
Hanako (華子?)
House Imperial House of Japan
Father Yoshitaka Tsugaru
Mother Hisako Mori
Born (1940-07-19) 19 July 1940 (age 75)
Religion Shinto
Japanese Imperial Family
Imperial Seal of Japan.svg

HIH The Prince Mikasa
HIH The Princess Mikasa

Hanako, Princess Hitachi (正仁親王妃華子 Masahito Shinnōhi Hanako?), born Hanako Tsugaru (津軽華子 Tsugaru Hanako?) on 19 July 1940, is a member of the Japanese Imperial Family as the wife of Prince Hitachi who is the younger son of Emperor Shōwa and the only brother of the current emperor, Akihito.

Early life and education[edit]

She is the fourth daughter of Count Yoshitaka Tsugaru, the last representative of the Tsugaru clan and adopted son of the daimyo of the Tsugaru Domain (present day Hirosaki, Aomori). Yoshitaka Tsugaru was originally from the Owari branch of the Tokugawa clan. He was also a member of the aristocracy created by the Meiji restoration (kazoku).

Her mother, Hisako Mori, was a descendant of the Mōri clan and also of the former daimyo of Chōshū Domain in the former province of Nagato (present day Yamaguchi).

Princess Hitachi is descendant from the old feudal aristocracy. She is a second cousin to a niece of Kikuko, Princess Takamatsu who was, like her father, a descendant of the Tokugawa clan. She is also a second cousin to Takamasa Ikeda, former head of the Ikeda clan and husband of her sister-in-law, Atsuko Ikeda.

Hanako Tsugaru attended the prestigious Gakushuin School for her primary, junior high, and high school education, a school for Peers which its purpose was to educate the children of the imperial family and the imperial aristocracy (kuge). She graduated from the Gakushuin Women's Junior College in 1961.


Hanako met her future husband, Prince Masahito, during her studies at Gakushuin. The Imperial Household Council announced the engagement of Prince Masahito and Hanako Tsugaru on 28 February 1964 and the engagement ceremony was held on 14 April 1964. The wedding ceremony took place on 30 September 1964. Upon marriage, Prince Masahito received the title Prince Hitachi (Hitachi-no-miya – strictly "Prince Hitachi") and authorization from the Imperial Household Economy Council to form a new branch of the Imperial Family. As of tradition dictates, upon her entry into the imperial family and like other members, she received a personal emblem (o-shirushi (お印?)): rhododendron (Tsutsuji (ツツジ?)). They have no children.

Since December 1976, Prince Hitachi and Princess Hitachi have their official residence in a palace in large grounds off Komazawadori in Higashi in the district of Shibuya in Tokyo.[1]

Public service[edit]

Prince and Princess Hitachi at the Chōwaden Reception Hall (January 2, 2011)

In addition to their official duties, Prince and Princess Hitachi serve as President or Honorary President of a wide variety of organizations. Princess Hitachi is president of various organizations that concern themselves with welfare and the arts.

The Prince and Princess attended the 66th National Athletic Meet (in Yamaguchi Prefecture) and the 24th National Health and Welfare Festival for Senior Citizens (in Kumamoto Prefecture) in October 2011, and the 2011 Concours of Schoolchildren’s Inventions (in Hokkaido) in November 2011, among other events.[2] On each of these visits, They took the opportunity to observe the situations in each of the regions.[2]

They also devoted themselves to the fostering of international goodwill, through a visit in July 2011 to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (to attend events related to the Praemium Imperiale global arts prize in honor of Prince Takamatsu) and a courtesy call on Queen Elizabeth II.[2] In March 2012, They traveled to the Kingdom of Tonga to attend the state funeral of King George Tupou V.[2] In July 2014, Prince Masahito and Princess Hanako departed to French Republic mainly to attend the Laureate Announcement Ceremony of Praemium Imperiale in Paris. The Praemium Imperiale is a global arts prize awarded annually by the Japan Art Association. Prince Masahito is the President of Japan Art Association. The Award Ceremony will be held in October in Tokyo.

The Princess attends events of the Japanese Red Cross Society Regional Meetings in her capacity as Honorary Vice-President and events of the Japan Ikebana Arts Association in her capacity as Honorary President.[2] In addition, she is involved in charitable events such as those of the Nippon-Latin American Ladies' Association and the Japan Animal Welfare Society.[2] The Princess is deeply interested in animal welfare in particular.[2] She has translated and published five foreign children's books and picture books about animals, including Dot the Fire Dog, which was published in April 2005.[2] The proceeds from these books are donated to the cause of animal welfare.[2]

Princess Hitachi, like her husband, was elected on 5 September 2007 by the other members of the imperial family to be one of their main representatives (there are two in total) to the Imperial Household Council as a member.[3] Both the members and reserve members, including Princess Hitachi, were re-elected on 7 September 2011.[4]

Titles and styles[edit]

Styles of
Princess Hitachi
Hitachi-no-miya mon
Reference style Her Imperial Highness
Spoken style Your Imperial Highness
Alternative style Ma'am

Hanako is styled as "Her Imperial Highness The Princess Hitachi". Prior to her marriage on 30 September 1964, she was styled as "Lady Hanako Tsugaru".


National honours[edit]

Honorary positions[edit]

  • Member of the Imperial House Council
  • Honorary President of the Japan Ikebana Art Association
  • Honorary President of the Japan Animal Welfare Society
  • Honorary President of the Japan Equestrian Federation
  • Honorary President of the Nippon-Latin American Ladies' Association
  • Honorary Vice-President of the Japanese Red Cross Society[5]


Princess Hitachi has translated various children books from English into Japanese.

  • The Eighty-Ninth Kitten by Eleanor Nilsson (published in 1987)
  • The Most Obedient Dog in the World, by Anita Jeram (published in 1996)
  • It was Jake, by Anita Jeram (published in 1997)
  • A Guide Dog Puppy Grows Up, by Caroline Arnold (published in 2001)



  1. ^ *Kunaicho | The Imperial Palace and other Imperial Household Establishments
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Activities of Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Hitachi". kunaicho.go.jp. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  3. ^ Mainichi Shimbun Morning Edition, 6 September 2007
  4. ^ Imperial Diary
  5. ^ Presentation of the Japanese Red Cross on its official website

External links[edit]

Order of precedence in Japan
Preceded by
Princess Kako of Akishino
HIH The Princess Hitachi
Succeeded by
The Princess Mikasa